Since April, a new instrument — the European citizens’ initiative (ECI) — is available and has put EU citizens in the driving seat as it has provided them with an opportunity to directly shape the political future of the EU. This offers important means of transnational participation while bringing together new opportunities for information, consultation and dialogue for those who wish to have a say at EU level.
Particular attention should also be paid to the notion of transparency. One of the first outcomes from the early stage of the process is that the European Commission has been reluctant to disclose the ECIs it had received before their registration. For EU citizens, is it essential to have access to all relevant information at every stage of the proceedings, not only to be able to follow a legislative process but also to work together from an early stage, in order to secure a true transnational debate on the issue.
This conference was therefore organised as an opportunity to evaluate the first practical experiences with ECIs and their impact. Most importantly, it focused on the sharing of information, experiences and inputs on particular initiatives and enabled stakeholders to exchange best practices with a special focus on the technical aspects of the regulation, as well as on the potential legal issues which still raise some concerns.